SEED participants with facilitators making soap.
SEED participants with facilitators making soap.

Permaculture programme seeds self-sufficiency, job skills for green economy

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Aug 11, 2021

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Cape Town - A Mitchells Plain based permaculture design training programme aims to instil a sense of self-sufficiency and resilience in young people and communities at large.

Established in 2000, SEED started as a food programme serving various Cape Flats schools for 14 years. The now youth resilience programme has been based at Rocklands Primary School for six years.

SEED offers a 15 week applied permaculture and design training course broken down into modules. Permaculture is defined as the growth of agricultural ecosystems in a self-sufficient and sustainable way.

Founding director Leigh Brown said the aim of the programme is to build personal resilience and connect young people to work opportunities within the green economy.

“For young people, it's essentially about: What are my gifts? How do I apply it with what the world needs? How do I take care of my basic needs and then also, what are the right livelihoods? It's about connecting people to work that makes sense, that the planet needs.”

Part of the course is accredited and runs from Monday to Fridays. The course also includes a month-long job shadow with SEED Green economy partners.

Positive impacts coming from the course include a 60% uptake in work opportunities and eight new enterprises started each year, said Brown. One of the significant changes seen in participants is a feeling of “hope and urgency”.

SEED head facilitator Stephanie Mullins completed the 16-week course in 2019. The course is broken down into four and 11 weeks.

“We are trying to train the basics of permaculture. It's a permaculture design course … designing your life for sustainability and resilience, so we try to understand the terminology that is used in the general green economy spaces and everything from ecosystems to basically understanding what it is, how nature works, how human psyche works, how we form groups.”

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Participant Rukshana Fakier said she was happy to be among others who felt the same way as her.

“I realised it's so much more than growing. This is that perfect culture, perfect society that we’re learning about. We all have different interests and we all want to take it to different places, but there’s this little golden thread coursing through everybody that is the same.

“It's the humanity thread, almost. The archetypal human feeding yourself, leaving nothing behind but your footprints, that kind of thing, that we’re all trying to achieve.”

Participant Leonie Mackenzie said: “There’s a lot of unemployment, so if people can find whatever their skills set are to gain employment or even just to feed themselves, it's very doable. I think people need to be empowered because as far as I can see this time that we’re in, is all about your own sovereignty.”

Operations manager Nicole van Heerden said applications are open for the next course starting on August 23.

Visit the SEED website to find out more on how to apply or get involved - http://www.seed.org.za/.

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